Despite coronavirus fears, Suncoast voters cast their ballots during Florida’s primary election

Suncoast Primary Voting

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - “We were going to vote regardless of what’s going on,” said Karen Lane, a Sarasota resident.

Lane and others were getting their vote in on this Primary Day in Florida. Supervisors of Elections in Sarasota and Manatee counties say voter turnout was around 36 percent, with many votes via mail-in ballot.

“It’s a little bit slow, which we expected it to be, we don’t expect a big turnout with this particular election,” said Michael Bennett, Supervisor of Election for Manatee County.

“I think they’re just afraid to come out period right now, they don’t want to be anywhere where there’s a crowd,” said Joanne and Ralph Ambrosia, a couple from Ellenton.

Both Sarasota and Manatee counties say they had to consolidate many of their precincts because a large group of volunteers stayed home to not risk coronavirus. A voting location at Sarasota Square Mall hosted six different precincts.

“It’s been a challenge but it’s been a team effort because our staff here in the elections office, our poll workers, our voters, county staff, political parties have all helped us out," said Ron Turner, Supervisor of Elections in Sarasota County. "We had people volunteer to help us direct people to the right polling locations today, so it definitely has been a community effort.”

Some people who we talked with say they weren’t going to let anything stop them from voting Tuesday.

“This is our privilege and if you want the right person to go in and be the president or whatever, of the country, you really need to put your voice in,” said Deena Miller, a voter from Ellenton.

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